tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS October 29, 2013 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
before congress today. marilyn tavenner, the administrator of the centers for medicare and medicaid services apologized for all of the problems with the site. she placed the blame on tardy contractors. that did not satisfy members of the house committee who were frustrated when tavenner would not answer some of the key questions. nancy cordes socapitol hill for us tonight. nancy. >> reporter: scott, the main thing members wanted to know was how many americans have managed to navigate this system and actually sign up for insurance. they asked her dozens of times, but she wouldn't answer. >> i want to apologize to you that the web site has not worked as well as it should. >> reporter: marilyn tavenner insisted today the obamacare web site's poor performance had nothing to do with her unwillingness to share enrollment figures. >> we will not have that until mid-november. we have people who are shopping now. we expect the initial number to be small. >> reporter: how small? tavenner wouldn't say. originally the administration
had aimed to enroll half a million people in october alone. committee chairman dave camp. >> it doesn't look like you're even meeting your own projections that you had prepared. >> reporter: tavenner took over the centers for medicare and medicaid eight months ago. >> can i tell you, my stritz frightened. >> reporter: republicans like kevin brady of texas argued her relatively small agency simply was not equipped to implement a huge new law. >> so what i can guarantee is that we have a system that's working. we're going to improve the speed of that system. >> excuse me. >> yes? >> you're saying the system right now is work? >> i'm saying it's working. it's just not working at the speed that we want and at the success rate that we want. >> reporter: tavenner blamed the web site's flaws on delays by the main i.t. firm tired to build it, a comaidian company called c.g.i. in an apparent contradiction she told georgia's tom price that the site's massive problems on day one caught her offguard.
>> the problems that we saw in the first week, we attributed to volume. once the volume started back down. >> how about before october one? was there any sense at all there would be problems with the web site? >> no, not-- there are always going to be issues with a new web site. what i would call the customary glitches that you see. but no, not this. >> reporter: that is not what the web site's designers said when they testified just last week. they said the site crashed when they tested it gently just two weeks before the launch date, and that they told c.m.s. officials all about it, scott. >> pelley: nan see, thanks very much. we wonder what the white house had to say about that system crash two weeks before the launch. major knaret has been asking about that. >> reporter: we asked the top health care adviser to president obama how it was decided to launch the health care web site when the administration knew it had failed some key early tests? who decided to go ahead with the launch when the site crashed
with fewer than 200 people on it and was the president notified that that crash occurred shortly before the october 1 launch? >> there was rigorous testing, but, major, look, there wasn't -- >> reporter: it crashed. and there had to be a decision to say go ahead once that site crashed. >> there wasn't-- it's clear now there wasn't enough testing. and the bottom line is the president of the united states last week went out in front of the american people and said here's what we're going to do to fix it. the good news, is when it's up and running we'll have until march 31 to make sure that people are covered. >> reporter: did the president know? >> we received updates in terms of the progress, and it was all systems go on october 1. >> reporter: white house advisers say consumers angered at having to switch their individual insurance policies after the president promised them they could keep them can find better alternatives and possibly cost-saving subsidies on the web site. it will be a lot easier, scott, when the web site is fully operational and that won't be
for at least another munch. >> pelley: major, thanks. the policies major mentioned are being canceled because they don't meet the minimum standards set by the new health care law. jan crawford confirmed that more than two million americans are gettinginize they can no longer keep their policies, including 279,000 in california, michigan, 140,000. florida, 300,000. and in new jersey, 800,000. if the purchases on the obamacare web site are small, as that agency official predicted today, what does that mean to insurance companies that need large groups of members for their plans to work? sharyl attkisson is looking into that. >> reporter: evergreen health of maryland is a nonprofit insurer that got start wade $65 million loan from the federal government. just days into the enrollment fiasco, c.e.o. dr. peter beilenson had to blow up his business plan.
>> we actually called a meeting immediately upon learning of these difficulties with the exchange of our entire 35-person staff and said, "listen, guys, we're going to have to switch our marketing strategy. our strat jeef how we're going after folks." >> i'm reaching out to you to discuss your health care. >> reporter: that means forgetting about individuals for now and instead targeting small businesses, the old fashioned way-- with phone calls and tv ads. >> neighborhood care, same-day appointments. >> reporter: the 23 small co-ops across country that have rpart of affordable care are intended to provide competition. as they adjust to stay afloat, some analysts worry that obamacare as designed might not. their biggest fear is that with the web site problems, more of the enroll ease will be the sickest and most motivated. if that happens, insures are would have no choice but to raise premiums and that could cause more health customers to flee. in the insurance industry, it's known as the death spiral, and experts say if that were to come to baz, the obamacare business
model would collapse. beilenson says he only knows for sure of say dozen people signing up for evergreen so far. >> if we have 1,000 members at the end of the year, that will be a problem, but we think we're far along in our business planning and we expect to have 15,000 or so which would be our break even. >> reporter: for context, scott, the affordable care law is counting on signing up 7 million people over the next six months. that averages to about 39,000 people a day. >> pelley: sharyl, thanks very much. now to the other controversy in washington, the u.s. government's once-top-secret surveillance programs have been under fire for months now, ever since edward snowden exposed them. calls to rein them in grew louder wa when it was revealed e u.s. was eaves dropping not only on enemies but allys. on capitol hill two of america's top intelligence officials made an impassioned defense and here's homeland security
correspondent b.a.r.t. >> reporter: the director of national intelligence today confirmed the n.s.a. has long spied to friendly foreign leaders to understanding the thinking of both enemies and allies. >> it's invaluable to us to know where countries are coming from, what their policies are, how that would impact us across a whole range of issues. >> reporter: german chancellor angela merkel has accused the u.s. of monitoring her personal cell phone. senate intelligence committee member, republican susan collins, said today that's inappropriate. >> there's absolutely no justification for our country to be collecting intelligence information on the leaders of some of our closest allies. >> reporter: but before the house intelligence committee, clapper was unapologetic. >> some of this reminds me a lot of classic movie ""casablanca--" my god, there's gambling going on here poopts the same kind of thing. >> reporter: national security agency chief keith alexander
said european partners have not been shy about spying on the u.s. alexander was questioned by minnesota republican michele bachmann. >> is it your experience that allies of the united states have spied on the united states historically? >> yes. >> or even as we speak? >> yes. >> reporter: alexander denied stories based on flaeks former n.s.a. contractor edward snowden that the n.s.a. has collected the the phone numbers of millions ofs ises in france, spain, and italy. alexander said that data was passed to the u.s. by european intelligence agencies. >> to be perfectly clear, this is not information that we collect the on european citizens. it represents information that we and our nato allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations. >> reporter: now, there is strong sentiment in congress to rein in the powers of n.s.a. by
prohibiting the mass collection of phone records but intelligence cheestles warned today, scott, that could put the country at higher risk. >> pelley: they made history again today on wall street. the dow jones industrial average was up more than 111 points to close at an all-time high of 16,680. the s&p closed up nearly 10 to a record 17 fon and change. we say that's history, but history isn't all that rare these days. that is the 32nd record close of the year for the dow. the 33rd for the s&p. senior business correspondent anthony mason is here. anthony, what companies are leading the way? >> reporter: it's not really any one stock leading this really, scott. it's nearly almost all of them. nearly nine out of 10 stocks on the s&p 500 are up this th year putting that index on the best course for a decade. boeing is up 72%. nike up 47%. american express up 45%. and disney up 38%. and, again, scott, that is just
this year. >> pelley: what's putting all this steam behind the rally? >> reporter: well, you know, first of all, corporate earnings continue to be strong, but this is a time when even bad news is good news. we had weak job growth last month, but that means the fed is likely to continue to stimulate the economy, now maybe all the way into the spring, and more than anything, that is caution this really on wall street. >> pelley: anthony, thanks very much. the tragic death of a teenager brings new calls for regulating toy guns. we spent time with the troops clearing the roads so americans can leave afghanistan. and the torch is passed at a former president's grave when the cbs evening news continues. so there i was again, explaining my moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis to another new stylist. it was a total embarrassment. and not the kind of attention i wanted. so i had a serious talk with my dermatologist about my treatment options. this time, she prescribed humira-adalimumab. humira helps to clear the surface of my skin
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the biggest job for these soldiers from fort hood, texas. it's the one operation they won't hand over to their afghan partners. >> you're good to push up about two, 300 meters. >> reporter: it's slow work but the job is critical as tens of thousands of u.s. troops and hundreds of tons of equipment make their way out of afghanistan. while armored military vehicles search the main road for hidden bombs, this part has to be done done on foot. soldiers patrolling these trails looking around every corner providing security against a possible ambush. >> mostly they use lamb cord. we call it angel hair. it's very thin, fine, copper wire. >> reporter: they're searching for hidden wires that taliban fighters use to trigger the bombs. the last time sergeant keenan roberts and his platoon from the 8th engineer battalion were here they walked straight into an ambush. his soldiers escaped without injury but he told us his job
gets more dangerous as the war winds down. >> you know, americans may have a perception this is all over, everybody is ticked in at their bases. but you're out here. >> oh, yeah. and we're going to be out here until the-- till we go home. we'll be running missions. >> reporter: as u.s. troops hand over to the afghan security forces, they travel on far fewer roads. taliban fighters know this, and they're concentrating their efforts on thiewz routes. >> it's a dangerous job. >> reporter: commander officer captain andrew elliot said his men can't afford to lose focus at this crucial stage. you will be among the last to leave. >> correct. road clearance will always be in afghanistan for the long term. there will always be road clearance and combat engineers leadingly the way. >> reporter: so they'll be out there until the last trick rolls out. >> correct. >> reporter: because there's so much troop movement now, combat nrnlz like the ones we were with, are out every day clearing the roads.
and, scott, one patrol recently found 14 bombs on a one-mile stretch of road. they're also finding taliban fighters are trying to bury bombs behind them as soon as they pass, sometimes minutes after they pass, in order to target them when they return to base. >> pelley: and most americans due to be out of there by 2014. charlie d'agata reporting from kabul. thank you, charlie. when president kennedy was laid to rest at arlington national cemetery, his widow, jacqueline, had his grave marked with an eternal blame. this past april the flame was transferred to a temporary burner so the natural gas system to be more thannized. well, today army secretary john mchugh returned the flame to the permanent burner just in time for the commemoration next month of the 50th anniversary of kennedy's death. we'll be right back. said i had diabetes. there's a lot i had to do... ... watch my diet. stay active. start insulin... today, i learned there's something
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was carrying an ak-47 rifle. it was really a plastic gun that fires plastic pellets. sheriff's deputies tried to show how similar the two guns look. the fake one is on the left. california state senator kevin de leon is considering reintroducing a bill that would require all toy guns and b.b. guns to be translucent or brightly calendar. when he proposed this in 2011, it was strongly opposed by the national rifle association and in toy gun makers. i imagine the people who make these toy guns say the point is for them to look real. >> exactly. >> reporter: and no one wants a gun that's bright pink or brightiel or bright orange. >> we're talking about children's lives. we're talking about lives cut short by law enforcement because law enforcement did not have the ability within a split nanosecond to discriminate 20 real thing and the fake gun. >> reporter: a 1988 federal law requires imitation guns to at least have a plays-orange plug in the barrel.
yet the plugs can be removed or calendar over. pellet guns are not covered by this federal law, which is why andy lopez's gun did not have the orange barrel. now, we bought a couple of toy guns at toy stores, and you can see some of them do have a very obvious orange plug in the barrel, but on other guns it's very small, making it hard to see from a distance. now, scott, we should mention we did call the n.r.a. and asked them for comment. they did not call us back but their poks in the past has always been b.b. guns and pellet guns should not be considered toy guns and, therefore, should not be required to be brightly colored. >> pelley: ben tracy in our los angeles newsroom. wemented to show you a sweet picture today. there's something about pope francis. kids are really drawn to him. as the pope celebrated family day over the weekend, a young boy jumped up on stage. a security guard tried to bribe him with candy, but the boy refused to leave the pope's side and gave him a hug. francis continued without
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$50 billion in damage. in breezy point, new york, 135 homes burned when sea water hit electrical wires. how long will it take to rebuild there? we asked elaine quijano to find out. >> it's still hard to believe what we went through. >> reporter: we met cathy o'hanlon on the concrete slab of what used to be her three-bedroom home. >> there's not one person back in their home from the burned area right now. >> reporter: why do you think it's taking so long for you to rebuild? >> well, the city has so many stipulations, and some of them are valid. but only now are you starting to see houses being built. it's a disgrace that we waited this long. >> reporter: after the firestorm, no one could rebuild until fema released its new flood zone maps for the area. that took eight months. now, each homeowner will have to
elevate their house, some as high as six feet, to qualify for flood insurance. new york city received $648 million for housing recovery but no one in breezy point has received any of that money. the city says it's still reviewing applications. and like many residents, cathy o'hanlon is still battling with her insurance companies because her house was destroyed by fire after it flooded, her flood insurance company denied her claim. >> when they say help, there was no help, none. there was a hand full of people that did very well with their insurance companies. and god bless them. but only a hand full. >> reporter: janice gilmartin is one of those fare, better. she was the first on her block to start rebuilding. >> we were one of the lucky ones this that we had enough insurance, so from the time we settled with the builder and they filed the plans, it was only about three weeks. >> reporter: cathy o'hanlon is still waiting on her approval.
at 68, she is starting over. >> you know, i paid my dues. we worked hard. we had everything paid. and now i'm right back to square one. >> reporter: but o'hanlon says rebuilding is worth it. she will come back, no matter what it takes, to the community where she says she finds strength. elaine quijano, cbs news, breezy point, new york. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org presents...
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